Elemental was not the most enjoyable book I’ve read recently. The setting is ambiguous, but seems to include most, if not all of the world. The world is infested with rats that carry a deadly plague and the only people that survived are either stuck at sea in ships or are on small islands that were not connected to the continents. The main character, Thomas, has grown up on one of these islands, but he’s different from everybody else on the island. Everyone else has an element they can control to some degree (Ex: fire) but Thomas cannot control any element. As a result, most of the other people see him as useless, with nothing to offer the island. I felt that this setting is quite realistic and it nicely sets up the story.
I don’t like the way that most of the characters do not change although you do learn some secrets about them. In the story you gradually learn why the characters act the way they do, but they never really develop. Aside from that I liked the main character Thomas. Unlike the other characters, he’s the only one who seems to grow through the story. At the beginning he is determined to prove he is useful to the island but in the end he becomes more focused at figuring out the truths that have been hidden since his birth.
The writing style was not the most enjoyable that I have read. The writing consists mostly of short simple sentences that are made to get the idea onto the paper; it really can’t be defined as any style. I don’t criticize Antony John for it, I just feel that if he spent more effort trying to make his sentences sound better the story would not have been as dull.
The plot was definitely not the best I have ever read. While the setting sets the story up well, the plot, although having good moments, disappoints me because it moves so slowly and does not have enough exciting action. Almost half of the book takes place in the shelter and this really slows everything down. Things pick up when they leave the shelter but as soon as they come back the story really drags.
Although Elemental had some things that I liked, such as the setting, I think that the writing style, characters and the plot are weak. Overall, I would say that the book did not work for me, but it could be worthwhile for some readers. You may like it more than I did.
~Sean, Teen Book Reviewers